“Thank God for my i-phone, it was the only contact with the outside world” said one of my siblings still in the dark after the Northeast snowstorm last weekend. With power and phone lines still laying twisted in the ruins of snow covered trees all over Massachusetts and Connecticut, utilities are using Facebook posts and tweets to keep their customers informed and safe.
Beyond customer service
Besides good customer service, social media helped ensure public safety during the height of the storm, warning people not to go near downed trees with potentially live wires hidden beneath the deep snow and to receive and respond to reports of outages.
Westfield Gas and Electric is posting repair activity information on their Facebook page, providing up to the minute detail on which streets they are working on and responding quickly to the inquires of frustrated customers.
Connecticut Light and Power is doing the same with their Twitter feed.
Social media and public safety
Social media is widely used for customer service but is in its nascent stages in public safety. I think we will see more and more utilities, organizations, law enforcement agencies and local governments begin to use this channel to serve and protect their citizenry.
The Connecticut and Massachusetts utilities’ social media efforts in the wake of this early snowstorm are a nice example of serving customers well and looking out for their well being.